-30 lbs (old university books donated to Dalchem library)
-12 lbs (clothes donated and some CDs sold)
-15 lbs (old stuff cleaning out for Parents’ visit)
+5 lbs (books bought)
-95 lbs (329 CDs, cases and notes @ 0.2875 lbs each)
-4 lbs (two wire CD stands)
-3 lbs (two small pots)
-4 lbs (Canon Rebel XT, battery, case, instructions, etc.)
-8 lbs (clothes)
-59 lbs (books)
-10 lbs (scanner)
-20 lbs (large lamp)
-47 lbs (more books)
-21 lbs (still more books!)
-20 lbs (paper samples from my design days)
+8 (new guitar + soft case)
-6 (old guitar + soft case)
-32 lbs (misc stuff donated)
+8 (net gain from replacing 9 year old microwave which stopped working)
-12 (misc stuff thrown out)
-377 lbs (goal was -330 lbs)
I DID IT!!!
The next time you clean out your dwelling, try to get an estimate of the weight. You might even try roughly measuring. Then divide that by your weight to see how many times your body weight you just shed. Then look at what you’ve got left and try to estimate that! This is harder, and you don’t need to be that accurate. But I think the magnitude or range of the number you get will open your eyes.
This is not your environmental footprint. That includes energy consumed, wasted materials to make what you have, among other things like water, etc. However, as a sort of material footprint, I think it is a very effective concept for truly gauging a partial impact you have on the planet. It’s like finding out your footprint relative to you as you exist naturally, then getting crushed by it because it is essentially what you are carrying around to sustain you. And that’s just at home! It’s like a Body Mass Impact. A different kind of BMI, if you will.
Now, if you want to be a bit more proactive, try guessing how much you can live without and try to attain it whenever you next clean out things. Hopefully, that’ll be soon now that you’ve gotten an estimate and are in the mindset so you have momentum. And if you read that on time, pledge it Earth Day, or do a retro pledge if you read this after Apr 22 2009 and before Apr 22 2010.
My pledge will be 3X my body weight by next Earth Day. That’ll be a total of 150 kg or 330 lbs net reduction. The year’s end deadline is because I have to do this orderly and responsibly, though at a cost of fighting new things I get counting against me. I will need to use all 5Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle, replenish and restore that I already do a lot of in life to achieve this. Put it together and you have my 5R -3I campaign, to reduce my material possessions by 3 Mes, or 3Is using the 5Rs.
I will also not be on my computer or watching TV outside of work to save some power, without spending time in darkness like for Earth Hour. Should be far more effective than one hour without lights, though I suggested far more than just having the lights off. I’ll try to schedule a post, though, so that it will automatically appear on Wednesday without me being online.
Finally, to take the decluttering theme further, I will be reincarnating my Facebook account for a clean new one. It’ll also allow me to study my Facebook footprint like a new soul able to see the footprint his last incarnation left behind. Should be interesting, but good relief to rid of the most cluttered thing in my life and start fresh with some good Facebook guidelines I developed last year, but did not necessarily follow well before then. More on this and outcomes in the following days.
Of these three, the first material reduction will be the only challenging one to monitor. I carefully chose to state it in a way that did not require me to weigh everything I own, and is practical to gauge with just a scale and rough estimates where needed. So how will I do this in case you want to try the same thing for yourself?
First, food and drinks won’t count. That’s generally stuff that flows through at the same rate. Big stuff like furniture can be “guesstimated”. But everything else counts. If you don’t have a small scale, weigh yourself and then yourself with the new or old object and take the difference. For objects too small to show up, keep a running list so when you get enough, weigh them. Sure, it’s rough, but the idea is to be aware of all this and make the move to lighten your life load. A good effort is what matters most, though I will keep track on this blog. By the way, I have this goal despite having just cleaned out about 1/3 of the weight of everything I owned last summer with my first move in 7 years.
The best, but hardest, thing about this pledge is that it is a net reduction. That means things I accumulate count against me! Buying a 1 kg book means I’ll have to rid of that 1 kg in addition to the 150 kg I had pledged to rid. That’ll make the goal is a lot tougher than 150 kg if you think about it. But it’s a great way to raise awareness of how much weight you accumulate from your purchases.
It’s also a great motivator to lose weight if you need to “cheat” a little. It’s a different mind set motivation in case losing weight for yourself didn’t do the the trick. Unfortunately, I plan to gain weight for my athletic training so I have to be extra vigilant.
What are you pledging (or did you pledge) for Earth Day?
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.3